God comes out in the spring

It’s spring time, and you know what that means!  Well, normally showers and flowers, but here it apparently means that Jesus was very active dieing, rising and doing all sorts of very holy traveling. As a consequence, in modern Europe we have all sorts of holidays! Yippi!


To take advantage of this illustrious time of year I decided to take a rather unholy trip to München and then follow it by a trip to Nürnberg. München has been one of the towns that I’ve wanted to visit my whole time here and I really had a good time.


p5130253.JPG The weather in Marienplatz may not have been warm, but but the beer gardens sure were.


I was in München for the a large, biannual religious festival that is held in a different city every time. It drew huge crowds to the city and every square in the old town had a stage with music being played in it. It was totally crazy, but many of the festival goers were young and they were all in an inexplicably good mood.


The downfall of the religious holiday was that the bar in my hostel was closed, so I had to visit the famous Hofbräuhaus alone. As it turned out this wasn’t a problem as I quickly found a table of English speakers that I got along quite well with – a group of PhD students and a computer scientist from the Southern European Observatory! I had instant streetcred when I dropped The Big Bang Theory (the TV show, that is) and PhD Comics. We had a great time and after two, 1L beers we went to a club and I didn’t get back to my hostel until nearly 6 in the morning. Wow!


p5130255.JPG I am now the owner of that mug. When you serve that much beer at a time, people tent to act out of character.  Also, that photo is an uncanny reconstruction of that beer garden…


p5140257.JPG The crew from SEO


The next day I met Tim and Franzie at the train station and we went for a trip around the city, having lunch with some of their friends (I was rather unsocial, owing to my three hours of sleep, sorry guys) and then went out to the Olympic park and saw more of the religious festival.  That included stopping by the tents that T&F’s scout troop had set up. After that we went back to their home town of Erlangen, about 1.5 hours north of München.


p5140267.JPG The really cool construction of the canopy at the Olympic park was amazing even to my bleary eyes.


p5140268.JPG Tim and Franzie at the scout camp


The next day Tim and I took a trip into Nürnberg and checked out the local famous brewery, the Nürnberg Schöner Brunnen (literally ‘beautiful fountain’) and the Deutsche Bahn Museum (aka The Traffic Museum). The DB museum was only €2 if you had a train ticket on you and was well worth the visit. Very interesting stuff.


img_0220.JPG The Schöner Brunnen.  img_0219.JPG There’s a loose ring in the fountain gate, and myth has it that it brings good luck to turn it once – but only once!


img_0224.JPG All aboard!  I can’t believe they let me drive that antique.


On the last day of the trip Tim and I went for some hiking (very nice) and caught the train home (which was very bad). Our plan was: leave Erlangen at 5pm, and be home at 10:30pm. Unfortunately, our first train was 20 min late and we missed our connection by 2 min. When we went to the help desk they gave us our new schedule – arriving in Winterthur at 5:38 am, the next day! Naturally we were livid, but nichts zu tun, and we started on our way. In the end, 3.5 hours of that were waiting in Zürich for the first train in the morning, and three of us (we met another disenfranchised traveler on the train) ended up taking a $100 cab from Zürich to Winti, which Tim is trying to claim from the German rain company.


seth-and-tim-hike.JPG A nice waterfall – all I really wanted though at this point was a drink of water. I was coming down with the flu but thought it was the Bavarian beer that had done me in!  That flu was another factor that made that train ride so rosy…


p5160270.JPG Even the gnomes here had had a bit too much to drink!


Overall it was an action packed four days and a lot of fun as a last bash in Europe. The Bavarians were friendly, foreigners were fun (all the physicists were foreign), and the landscape was really beautiful. Good stuff.


erlangen-beach.JPG Chill’n on the beach in Erlangen. No worries about that landlocked ‘problem’.

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